⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU blocks Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel joint venture: The European Union’s antitrust enforcer on Tuesday blocked the planned merger of the European steel businesses of India’s Tata Steel Ltd. and Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG. The EU prohibited the merger to avoid serious harm to European industrial customers and consumers. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the combination would reduce competition in the supply of special steel for the car and packaging industries. The EU Commission said the companies, which had looked to the deal as one way to tackle overcapacity and other challenges in the steel industry, had not done enough to allay its concerns. Imports from third countries would not have been able to offset potential price hikes resulting from the deal.
EU to clear up Swiss doubts on new treaty: The EU Commission has pledged to clear up Switzerland’s concerns about a draft treaty to govern ties between the EU and Switzerland. In a letter to the Swiss Federal president, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Brussels would renegotiate a draft treaty from November 2018 on future relations with Switzerland. The Swiss government had asked for clarification on three points before signing it, but Juncker pointed out that signature should be completed by 18 June to maintain access to the EU market for Swiss stock exchanges. Swiss-EU relations suffered in 1992 when Swiss voters rejected joining the European Economic Area. This led to a negotiated patchwork of 120 accords that now govern ties.
EU publishes rules on drone operation: The EU has published a set of rules on drones to provide a clear framework for what is and isn’t allowed. The regulation is intended to improve safety and make it easier for drone users to operate their craft. The European Aviation Safety Agency said the new rules would come into force from July 2020, giving EU member states and operators time to prepare. The reason for the new EU-wide rules are several disruptions at various airports due to unauthorised or unannounced drone flights.
European rights court fines Moldova: The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has imposed a fine on Moldova over the expulsion of teachers at the request of the Turkish government. Meanwhile, Moldovan President Igor Dodon scrapped a decree for a snap parliamentary election that was issued by his rivals through a high court maneuver. On Sunday, the Constitutional Court — regarded as under the control of the powerful oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc — had dismissed Dodon as president, and appointed outgoing Prime Minister Pavel Filip as his replacement. Filip immediately called for parliament to be dissolved and re-elected in snap elections, a move Dodon called unlawful.
stockholmcf.org (Court); reuters.com, apnews.com (Dodon)
Study: Robust digital policies boost EU member states’ performance europa.eu
EU finance ministers: Watered-down Tobin tax could enter into force in 2021 euractiv.com
Margrethe Vestager: For the first time, a woman could lead the EU Commission euractiv.de
Council of Europe: Xenophobia and hate speech shaped politics in 2018 tagesspiegel.de
Russia: Journalist Golunov is freed npr.org
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“This is not a treaty between Theresa May and Juncker.”
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has reiterated that the Brexit withdrawal agreement could not be renegotiated.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Merkel calls for better working conditions worldwide: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the EU to look into ways to ensure countries have a comparable minimum wage, arguing there should be equal working conditions across the bloc. Speaking at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference in Geneva on Tuesday, Merkel stopped short of supporting a standard EU-wide minimum wage, which French President Emmanuel Macron backed at the same conference. Insisting that the world faced a profound crisis on a par with the post-conflict uncertainty of 1919 and 1944, Macron warned that it was in such situations that authoritarianism appeared to offer easy solutions, such as building walls to protect people from rampant capitalism and ending cooperation between countries.
Maas warns of danger to world peace: Foreign ministers from 16 non-nuclear countries gathered in Stockholm on Tuesday to discuss the state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), urging nuclear powers to shoulder their responsibilities for disarmament. The EU has been working to salvage the agreement intended to curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it last year and reinstated sanctions against Iran. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was in Iran last week for talks on the country’s nuclear programme, warned that the deal’s collapse served the interests of neither Europe nor Iran. He called the spread of nuclear weapons a danger to world peace.
Spain’s Socialists and far-left agree to cooperate: Spain’s Socialists agreed on Tuesday to cooperate on forming a government with far-left party Podemos. Even combined, the two parties lack a majority of parliamentary seats, but Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias told journalists that he was hopeful that the the way could be paved for a more concrete, progressive agreement on government. Iglesias wants Podemos to be part of a ruling coalition, an idea Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has so far rejected. Sanchez’ Socialists had won a national election in April but only a minority of seats.
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France breaks up neo-Nazi cell: French police have smashed a neo-Nazi cell accused of plotting attacks on Jewish or Muslim places of worship, a source close to the investigation said Tuesday. Five members of the group, who were close in ideology to the neo-Nazi movement were charged between September and May over the alleged plot. The investigation suggested that the group was developing an ill-defined plot to carry out an attack, likely to target a place of worship.
Italian government wants to avoid EU criminal proceedings: The EU moved closer on Tuesday to taking disciplinary action over Italy’s growing debt, as authorities in Rome made steps to avert a procedure that could saddle the country with large fines. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Italy was moving in an unsound direction and risked a procedure that could last years. In a rare show of unity after bouts of infighting in recent months, the coalition’s leaders agreed overnight on a willingness to address the EU’s concerns. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after coalition leaders met that they would work together to avert the disciplinary action.
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Coach in Iran has to pick up his payment in cash: Iran’s football league champions, Persepolis Tehran, are considering paying their coach Branko Ivankovic his salary of 679,000 U.S. dollars in cash. According to media reports, the Croatian coach is set to travel to Tehran and pick up a suitcase containing the money. The club has explained that a wire transfer is not possible due to US sanctions against Iran.